Fantastic Four Teases the End of a Major Marvel Superhero Marriage

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Thing #1, on sale now from Marvel Comics.

The ever-loving, blue-eyed Thing stars in his own comic book series that showcases the rockiest member of the Fantastic Four in his own adventures, blending superhero action with slice-of-life comedy and drama. Set years before the contemporary Marvel Universe, where Ben Grimm has happily settled down and married his longtime girlfriend Alicia Masters, the six-issue miniseries makes a major revelation about Ben and Alicia's romantic past that sets the tone for this story and adds another wrinkle to the already vastly complicated shared history that the two characters already had as it explores a previously unrevealed breakup.

Years ago, after the Thing indulges in some personal time fishing off the coast of South America without his phone to avoid any interruptions, Ben discovers that Alicia has already made plans without him upon his return. This involves Alicia hanging out with a handsome art curator she previously met in Puerto Rico and a deeply jealous Ben reacts poorly, culminating in an entire incident with plenty of collateral damage in the heart of New York City. And after inadvertently creating such a disastrous scene, resulting in Ben being placed under house arrest until the legalities of the matter are completely sorted out, Alicia decides to call off their engagement as she returns her ring and leaves Ben behind, resulting in the Thing exploring uncharted territory of online dating in The Thing #1 by Walter Mosley, Tom Reilly, Jordie Bellaire and VC's Joe Sabino.

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While under house arrest, Ben receives an offer to register with Elysium Courtship Dancers to find a partner and decides to enroll in the dating service. At the end of the day, Ben is just looking for someone to talk to and provide him much-needed company in what can be a very solitary life after his transformation alongside the rest of the Fantastic Four. And as Ben's first date through the service is interrupted by the usual superhero hijinks that comes with living in the Marvel Universe, the whole affair is actually one of the more innocuous elements of Ben's love life.

Previously, Ben and Alicia separated when Ben opted to remain on a faraway planet that allowed him to transform back into his human form, with Alicia moving on by romancing Ben's Fantastic Four teammate the Human Torch. After a whirlwind courtship, the two married, with a heartbroken Ben returning to Earth to attend the wedding and tacitly lend his support for the marriage. Shortly thereafter, the Alicia that Johnny Storm married was revealed to be a Skrull in disguise, with the real Alicia -- who was still very much in love with Ben -- captured by the Skrulls, leading to a dissolution of Johnny's marriage and Ben rekindling his romance after reuniting with the real Alicia. Ben and Alicia have since recently married as the culmination of one of the Marvel Universe's most well-known love affairs.

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While in the contemporary Marvel Universe Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters remain happily married, the new The Thing comic book miniseries reveals a rough patch in the couple's shared past and how Ben would attempt to rebound with the advent of modern dating technology. And though Ben and Alicia are destined to reunite and take their relationship to the next level, the Thing's latest adventure is poised to take the single superhero against a seemingly supernatural foe that has their sights set on the entire universe.

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Sam Stone is a 10th level pop culture guru living just outside of Washington, DC who knows an unreasonable amount about The Beatles. You can follow him on Twitter @samstoneshow and ask him about Nintendo, pop punk, and Star Trek.

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